A State of Perpetual War: Fiction & the Sri Lankan Civil War
Novelist Shehan Karunatilaka in conversation with Kartika Budhwar.
The stereotypes of the commercial sphere, the smiley, happy go lucky, Sri Lankans—there is something to that stereotype. It's not a grim place, even though a lot of grim things take place here. A tragedy will happen, the jokes will start almost immediately. Maybe it's gallows humor or a coping mechanism. Whatever it is, that seems to always be there.
RECOMMENDED: This interview took place prior to the publication of Shehan Karunatilaka's Booker-Prize winning novel The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida (Penguin), which he discusses in the interview as a work-in-progress.
ALSO IN THIS ISSUE:
Watch the interview on YouTube or IGTV.
Sri Lankan Civil War
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam
Sri Lankan Literary Tradition
Chats with the Dead
South Asian Theater
Writing about Recent History
Discourses of War
Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna
SHEHAN KARUNATILAKA was born in Galle, Sri Lanka. He grew up in Colombo, studied in New Zealand and has lived and worked in London, Amsterdam and Singapore. He emerged on the world literary stage in 2011 when he won the Commonwealth Prize, the DSL and Gratiaen Prize for his debut novel, Chinaman. Karunatilaka is considered one of Sri Lanka's foremost authors; his most recent novel, The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida, is the winner of the Booker Prize 2022. In addition to novels, he has written rock songs, screenplays and travel stories, publishing in Rolling Stone, Gentleman's Quarterly and National Geographic. He lives mostly in Colombo and partly in Singapore with a wife, two kids, four guitars, and 27 unfinished stories.